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Therefore I knew that radiocarbon dating was likely to be a sensitive subject to Eisenman.
For this reason, though I was burning to discuss radiocarbon dating with Eisenman when I went out to California, out of consideration for his peace of mind I made a conscious point not to raise the subject or ask him about radiocarbon dating until after the “Nova” filming was completed.
At this stage Eisenman commented to me how few texts had been radiocarbon dated when, as he told me then, the Israel Antiquities Authority officials should have decided to radiocarbon date all of the Qumran texts.
When I returned to Ithaca, New York, with radiocarbon dating on my mind I composed a letter to Biblical Archaeology Review, not criticizing the Zurich datings but urging more datings and, thinking to help things along, offering to pay for a radiocarbon dating of a text myself.
“I was also indirectly responsible for the second run of carbon tests in 1995. He gave advice as I entered the academic world and then applied to graduate schools.
42) By Greg Doudna October 2013 I became interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls from reading books by Robert Eisenman, and it was the first radiocarbon datings done on Dead Sea texts at Zurich in 1991 prompted by a letter of Eisenman and Philip Davies that started my interest in radiocarbon dating. I first met him at a Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Boston in 1987.
On pages 41-44 of his 2006 book The New Testament Code (London: Watkins Publishing), and in articles published last week on the Huffington Post (Oct.
The eight texts from Qumran dated generally in agreement with the existing more precise palaeographic date estimates on each of these texts, within margins of error (with the exception of one text, 4QTestament of Qahat, which gave a date inaccurately too early due to contamination).
It was an overstatement at the time for some to characterize these datings as having confirmed the exact accuracy of the palaeographic dating system, given the margins of error of the individual radiocarbon datings and so few texts dated.
Now radiocarbon dating added a third, independent external means of dating these texts.
Because of Eisenman’s high profile as a critic of establishment scholarly views on the Qumran texts and his role in calling for open access to the unpublished texts at a time when they were still being held secret, combined with a personal style which can fairly be described as occasionally combative, he had accumulated a few scholarly enemies along the way who were only too happy to characterize the new radiocarbon datings as evidence—they claimed—disproving Eisenman’s theory of large-scale 1 century CE composition of the sectarian texts.